Creative ideas allow us to innovate and revolutionize. Being highly creative also gives us far more resources to solve problems than if we are not creative. Furthermore, creative problem solving can often give us far easier solutions to problems then analytical problem solving techniques provide. So, how can we increase our ability to think and solve problems creatively?
The first step to being more creative is simple yet crucial. To be more creative, you need to believe you are a highly creative person. If you believe you are a highly creative person, then that will allow you to solve problems in highly creative ways.
Too many people believe that they aren’t creative because they can’t draw, paint or play a musical instrument. This is ridiculous. Creativity isn’t about having technical ability, it is about your ability to make something new. So if you don’t currently believe you are highly creative, you need to start now.
I have always believed myself to be a person who has been able to solve problems creatively. I have always been fairly artistic and I don’t tend to use conventional solutions to problems. This belief in my own creative powers has allowed me to use them to their fullest extent. Believe you are creative to be more creative.
Once you believe you are a creative person, the next step to solving problems creatively is to look at problems in a new way. A different perspective is usually all you need to solve a problem creatively. The ability to look at a problem from a variety of different vantage points allows you to find solutions that you might not be able to see otherwise.
A good way to create this new vantage point is to ask yourself questions. The first of these questions should always be, what is most important? By asking this question you create a new vantage point that eliminates all of the unnecessary information in the problem. Ask yourself questions like, “How would Albert Einstein look at my problem? Benjamin Franklin? Jesus? Yoda?”
New perspectives can come by analyzing something from a different vantage point. For those of you who read my article yesterday, how many of you have ever made connections between a role playing game and personal development? These kind of connections can give us insight that is impossible from traditional means. If you want to get a three dimensional picture, you need to view something from more than one vantage point.
Aside from just looking at the problem in a different way, creative solutions come about when we try to put things together that don’t normally belong together. In this way, you can create new solutions by trying to mix two or more seemingly unrelated things. To use this, simply write down a lot of things or tools you might use to solve your problem, then ask yourself what would happen if you combined two or more of those things?
The next step to thinking creatively is to give yourself a lot of opportunities to get different vantage points and to synthesize new ideas on a regular basis. How can you create these opportunities? You create these opportunities by always experiencing new things. Join new clubs, go to different restaurants or maybe try sleeping on the floor!
Creating a lot of new opportunities to see things in different ways gives you a lot more creative power than when you are stuck in a habitual pattern. Doing things differently can give you those new perspectives or allow you to synthesize the new ideas you need to solve creative problems.
Aside from doing new things, you need to flex your own creative muscles just like any other skill. If you don’t currently enjoy a creative hobby or pastime, I would suggest picking one up now. Don’t worry about technical proficiency, creativity is about imagination not your ability to draw a straight line. Creative pursuits will get your mind into a state where the right side of your brain can function more optimally.
Creative pursuits can take a variety of forms. You could take up drawing, painting, writing, or music. You could even try cooking or stand-up comedy. Even if you don’t consider yourself artistic or musical, I’m sure there is a creative activity you would really enjoy. Express yourself!
Solving creative problems is largely about the generation of ideas. By generating and storing ideas consistently, we can have a lot more ideas to work with when we have a problem. I wrote previously about techniques to increase your ability to generate ideas here.
It turns out that when we measure the creativity of young children virtually all of them will record as being ‘highly creative’. However, only a small percentage of adults register as being ‘highly creative’. What happened?
What happened is that while growing up, these children were always told not to do things differently and to do things conventionally. Sooner or later, we learned to stifle anything that makes us different or unique. We also stifled any thinking that was different or unconventional. How many of you were told to color within the lines?
This kind of creative restriction has meant we are not nearly as expressive and creative as we could be. To start we need to explore our differences in thinking and behavior. If you have a different idea than someone else, it isn’t necessarily wrong. Losing our inhibitions when expressing ourselves is a key to being highly creative.
If you want to solve problems creatively, here are the steps you need to take:
1) Believe you are highly creative.
2) Explore problems from new and different perspectives.
3) Constantly expose yourself to new experiences and ideas.
4) Take up a new hobby or pastime that allows you to be creative and expressive on a regular basis.
5) Generate more ideas and store them so they can be used later.
6) Be uninhibited in your self-expression.
Creative thinking is a skill like anything else. Creative people are simply those that do things in a different way to produce unique results. By constantly working on our creativity, we can solve problems other people can’t. Furthermore, highly creative people can often eliminate problems with relative ease that a logical analysis approach would take years to solve.
Be creative and foster creativity in your own life today.